3 easy mods to make your Epiphone EB3 Bass Great! Part 3: Jeannie Pickguards!

If you missed

Part 1: 3 easy mods to make your Epiphone EB3  Bass GREAT!!!!!    Part 1: Epiphone Bass Parts. Varitone 

Part 2: 3 easy mods to make your Epiphone EB  Bass GREAT!!!!!      Part 2: Epiphone Bass Parts. Bridge work,

and would like to read the posts in sequence, or would like to review, this is a good time to dig into the whole story!

 

The last modification to the Epiphone Custom Shop EB3 is more in the area of aesthetics as opposed to pure function but remember what I said about how a clean guitar sounds better and a car runs better? Well then, don’t question it, will ya?! Just take my word for it unless of course, you already know this tautology! It is just the way it is. Looking at the bass I really was not happy with the pick guard. I mean Epiphone pickguards are mostly okay and sometimes awesome as delivered stock but in this case it was somewhat lackluster to say the least. Similar to your small sized Gibson SG pickguard but a bit less exciting. this stock Epiphone bass guitar pickguard was 4 layer black/white/black/white and had a thin edge bevel. Part of the guard was not beveled at all. What’s up with THAT!, Dr. Epiphone??!! You guys have no bevel machine?! Such a nice looking bass and such a lack luster pickguard? I mean after all this revamping of the bass, it really needs a vintage style pickguard to play its best, yeah?

Jeannie Custom Pickguards

Epiphone Custom Shop EB3 bass with stock pickguard. Eh…!

 

So once again an Internet search is in order. I come across a site named Jeannie Pickguards. http://home.comcast.net/~pickguards/  Pretty cool site. They do some nice custom work. I also noticed afterwards that they had a running listing on Ebay for a vintage style Gibson/Epiphone EB3 pickguards amongst other offerings. The pickguard  in the listing had 5 layers black/white/black/white/black and the layers were a bit thicker; sweet!  The thicker pickguard lends itself to a nice wide vintage style bevel which has that old Gibson EB3 vibe to it. Just what I was looking for! I went for it. There is a process involved for getting it built though and at this point I became well acquainted with Roger who is the irascible gent that actually custom builds the pickguards at Jeannie Pickguards.  I was instructed to take off the original stock pickguard and send it to Roger so he can use it as a template. This was a must because without it there was no guarantee the pickguard would fit. He also wanted to know the year of the bass. I told him that it was an Epiphone Custom Shop EB3 Bass made for the Japanese market only and was produced in 2011. Okay, fine. I sent Roger the pickguard and the funds for the new one ( forty five dollars ) through Paypal and waited for both pickguards to arrive back.

Jeannie Custom Pickguard

Jeannie Pickguard (oooh!) with large wide soft beverl vs. Epiphone stock pickguard ( Eh…) on right

Jeannie Custom Picguards

Jeannie Pickguard completes the vintage vibe of the Epiphone Custom Shop EB3 bass.

 

In the meantime Roger calls me and leaves a message to call him back and so I did. He wanted to know if I would like cream instead of white sandwiched in with the black. Very nice of Roger to consider calling me on that one being that the white vs. cream concept was not even in my life space up to that point, just figured it was going to be a new pickguard and white is the arbitrary color choice to counter balance black, period. Roger is starting to grow on me now. Maybe I was a bit premature labeling him irascible and actually telling him he should be nicer? I remember when we had that discussion on the phone he said to me;  “I really AM a nice guy!! Problem is you can easily misjudge a person and his tone/intentions by what he states on the internet”. Really can’t dispute that. Can’t tell you how many times I pissed people off and started arguments because I was either misunderstood or taken way too seriously when I was only playfully busting balls in my emails!

 

Anyway, without hesitation I went with Roger’s suggestion as the cream color off sets the black very nicely and gives the pickguard the appearance of years of fading and yellowing which is perfect for the vintage look. A week passes but it feels like a month because I am like a kid on Christmas day simply busting for a look before it is time to open the presents. The pickguards finally arrive! I archive the stock pickguard with the stock bridge and the stock wiring harness. The pickguard looks perfect, installs perfectly, and completes the look. Simply love it.

Jeannie Custom Pickguard

Epiphone Custom Shop EB3 with Jeannie Custom Pickguard installed

 

Should I stop here or put on the chrome bar cover that the original Gibson EB3 had?

Jeannie Pickguard and chrome cover

Jeannie Pickguard looks great. Chrome cover? Gotta think about this one.

I really have mixed feelings about it. Sure that is the way it was, but I am not sure that an unnecessary piece of chrome bling adds anything to the overall appearance or in fact takes something away. So at this point of indecision, I am not installing it. I really want to make sure I want it there because once the required two mounting holes are drilled there is no way to un-drill  them. This is fine for now.

Epiphone Custom Shop EB3 Bass with Ampeg B15R stack

Epiphone Custom Shop EB3 bass with Ampeg B15R stack is a killer combo!

Epiphone Custom Shop EB3 Bass w/ Ampeg B15R stack

Epiphone Custom Shop EB3 bass with Ampeg B15 R stack. Jeannie pickguard looks great!

 

 

Okay then. All in all, I did throw a few dollars into this bass, actually a bit more than my original investment which some might call me nuts, nuts, nuts!!!, for doing so. First up was the hard shell case www.americanmusical.com/‎, then the Rothstein varitone circuit http://www.guitar-mod.com/ followed by the Hipshot Supertune bass bridge http://store.hipshotproducts.com/cart.php?m=product_detail&p=264 and finally the Jeannie pickguard. Throw in an extra twenty dollars for the chrome bridge cover in case I decide to mount it. By the way, speaking of the chrome bridge cover, this one is an aftermarket replica. The original vintage chrome bridge covers as scavenged off the old Gibson EB3 basses by the vultures who dismantle perfectly good instruments to sell them part by part are fetching insane money and are tarnished and pitted. As you know I like my instruments new, pristine, and clean as a whistle. Why? Of course because they play better that way! This Epiphone Custom Shop EB3 bass is now everything I want in an EB3 bass without the stellar price tag of a vintage original Gibson.  I had a lot of fun with this project and ended up with a great bass. A player for sure, but smokin’ HOT! Hope you enjoyed the adventure as much as I did and thanks for visiting drchucksgearrants!

5 Responses to “3 easy mods to make your Epiphone EB3 Bass GREAT! Part 3: Jeannie Pickguards!”

  • The Professor:

    Loved this series on the Epiphone EB3! Now I’d like to see you complete the vintage look and go ahead and install the chrome bar. C’mon, do it, Dr. Chuck!

  • drawbarc@optonline.net:

    Really think so? I have mixed feelings as you know. It is indeed the last finishing touch to make it like the original vision of Gibson way back then,.. but…..

  • Mike Selvey:

    Hi-

    I REALLY enjoyed reading your “MOD History” on this EB-3. I just acquired a PRISTINE used one in cherry-red from Chicago Music Exchange (GREAT buncha guys!) during a 15%-off sale.

    I already had owned an Epiphone Allen Woody Rumblekat with a Hipshot Supertone bridge, and there was NO WAY I was gonna try to live with a stock Epi/Gibson 3-point bridge! I’ve already scored a mint, used Hipshot bridge from a guy on Reverb.com.

    I was undecided about what to do with the (mostly) useless pickup switch on this EB-3, and your experience with the varitone reminded me that I already use 6-position varitone switches in place of tone controls on most of my Fenders, Squiers, etc. So why not contact the same people you used, and get a complete harness with their varitone and brand new (and BETTER) volume and tone switches already hooked up to a harness?

    That way, I could keep the old stock harness intact, in case I ever (not bloody likely) sell this bass. I could then restore the stock harness and pots, and keep this improved rig for the next bass with this configuration!

    My Epi has the large “Mother of Pearl” chevron fret markers, so I have decided to go a different way with the pickguard. Epi (Japan?) made a limited run of “Ebony/Ivory” EB-3s that had black bodies and white pearl pickguards and truss rod covers. I was thinking that this white pearl would highlight my fret markers, and get my bass one step closer to the (mildly) “Hot Rod” condition I am looking for.

    I am still unsure of what to do with the pickups. It looks like you kept the originals. Unleashed from the substandard pots, and run through the “direct” spot on the varitone, I may very well like the sound of the stock pickups. If not, Artec (available on eBay) makes a 10.0 ohm neck and bridge pickup which are almost “drop-in”. I have heard these on a YouTube clip, and they are fairly impressive.

    Again, thanks for the inspiration. I just LOVE modding a new bass to get the very best out of it. Coupled with the bucketload of style an “SG” body has, it may very well become my FAVORITE bass!

    Mike in Texas

    • Hey Mike! Thanks for such a detailed and informative letter. I am very honored that you liked my posting and found inspiration to boldly mod your own Epi bass as well. I kept the old harness myself, but there is a very small likelihood that I will ever sell, especially with the big “2” on the back considering I will most likely take a total bath despite this plays as good as any EB3 I have ever picked up. Yes, the varitone harness unleashed the beast within and I am overall pretty satisfied with the stock pickups despite the bad press they get. I have though, made a mental note about the Artec pickups you mention, thanks, and will check them out anyway. I also own a Japanese Fender ’51 Pbass; the Tele style Precision, and an American ’62 Reissues Jazz Bass. There is nothing bad I can say about them, but this Epi has a bucket load of style as you say, and I love the short scale on mine. Coupled with nice action it really is a joy to play. Also, I cannot agree with you more about the three point bridge and that was why it had to go. What a difference!! Again, Mike, thanks for chiming in! Most appreciated.
      Chuck

    • drawbarc@optonline.net:

      I really appreciate your feedback and like your approach on your bass as well. Yes, I left the stock pickups as with the varitone circuit, they are more than adequate for my needs, but I imagine that there would only be good things happening from your suggested upgrade. Please let me know how you make out wit this Mike. Peace!

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